How can we incentivise the Brave Warriors?

By John Tuerijama

WITH the senior national football team expected to represent the Land of the Brave at the continental show-

piece next month, the pressure to progress beyond the group stages is being shouldered by both the team’s technical committee and players.

But how do we expect the Brave Warriors to put on a grand show in Egypt if we don’t in- vest in the players?

Do we have the monetary muscle to incentivise these players? What is on the table for the players that will encourage and motivate them to put the country first?

National football teams of countries world- wide are seen as a priority, with significant investments injected into these teams, but Namibia on the other hand has shown little interest in encouraging its players to bring their A-game in Egypt.

It’s such a pity that as a country we are rely- ing on a grant from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and since the grant is not yet confirmed by the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) Normalisation Committee (NC) we can’t talk of international friendly matches yet, even though we know that the Brave Warriors will have a training camp abroad.

The question is whether we have the money to arrange a foreign-based training camp.

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How are we as a nation going to encourage our senior national team players to represent the country with a sense of pride and patriotism?

Sports authorities knew that the Brave Warriors would form part of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers and, yes, everyone who follows the game also knows that the Brave Warriors will take part in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers later this year, but what financial surety do we have to ensure the smooth and effective participation of our senior national team? I wonder what will happen should the Brave Warriors accomplish the impossible by progressing to the AFCON quarter-finals.

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I sometimes wonder if there is any political will to salvage sport in our country. Perhaps the Minister of Sport should introduce a law that compels the private sector to contribute to a ‘national sport fund’.

We also need to show our appreciation to the respective national sport teams by rewarding our athletes. Simply put, we as Namibians do a lot of talking but investing in our national teams is never a priority.

We all know that the Brave Warriors have many international engagements, starting with the Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA), followed by the Africa Nations Cup (CHAN).

The question is whether we have the money to reward our players.

How are we going to make sure that the situation that unfolded in Lusaka, Zambia during our final AFCON qualification game – where players demanded payment – does not repeat itself? What is the agreement between the Brave Warriors and the Namibia Football Association (NFA)’s NC in terms of payment?

I sincerely hope that we will not again have to witness a situation where players demand payment. It’s important for the NC to express itself on the financial standing of the NFA. I know that we have a ‘Sport Rewarding Policy’ to hon- our the achievements of sportsmen and women but the availability of money is a hindrance to this noble goal.

Let me call on our policymakers in Parliament to rethink their approach to sport, to start seeing sport as a potential multi-million dollar industry for the country, and to seriously start investing in sport.